Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Okeechobee, Fla
Cherry Q Sauce
This one I created with ribs in mind. But because of its ingredients I think it would be good on with brisket as well. I am cooking dinner for some people in Georgia tonight so I am not in my own kitchen (I made this earlier while no one was home since Q is not on the menu, while I was making Raine's corn pie) and thus there are a few things I did not have access to. I'll note those later. I was looking for a dark sauce in color, rich with cherry flavor but not over the top, with supporting flavorings and spices. I like the way this turned out. It is deeply colored and I think the additional flavorings and spices work well. There is plenty of room for tweaking.
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbls oil
1 Tbls unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 'coin' ginger, about the size of a quarter, peeled, minced
3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves*
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
10 oz black cherry preserves**
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire
1 T Dijon mustard***
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 tsp Aleppo pepper
2 Tbls chile powder****
12 oz pitted Montmorency cherries packed in water, drained (weight is after draining)
2 Tbls Merlot
1 tsp chipotle powder, or to taste *****
2-4 Tbls reserved juices from Q'd meat (See note)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste
Melt the butter with the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. When the foam subsides add the onion, stirring to coat well. Cook, stirring occasionally, till the onion is mostly browned, about 7-10 min. Add the garlic, ginger, thyme, and salt. Stir and cook till fragrant, about 1 min more.
Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, the cherry preserves, balsamic, Worcestershire, Dijon, celery seed, Aleppo, and chili powder. Stir and allow to come up to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, till the solids are very soft and the flavors well-combined, about 20 min. Allow to cool off heat 5 min.
Put the sauce into the bowl of a processor and pulse several times till the sauce is partially pureed but still has texture. Return to the pan. Pour the drained cherries into the pan and crush with the back of a spoon. Stir.
Just before serving, return the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the Merlot. Add the reserved juices from the barbecued meat 1 Tbls at a time, stirring and tasting as you go. Add the chipotle a pinch at a time, stirring and allowing the sauce to simmer a minute after each addition before tasting. Add lemon juice a few drops at a time till just 'bright' but not lemony. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve.
Note: If you would like the sauce much thicker, reduce it further after adding the drained cherries. This sauce would make a good glaze. A few tablespoons mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tsp honey (optional) then pureed well (and reduced further if necessary) could be painted on the ribs for the last minute or two of the cook. If doing this sauce for ribs, I'd recommend foiling them at whatever point you'd normally foil, with the addition of a juice of your choice. The drained juices from the cherries straight or mixed with strained o.j. might be nice; apple would work well, as would cranberry. Save these juices when you unwrap the ribs. Further, if you're doing a different meat and/or not foiling but plan to foil during the rest, then save those juices when you unwrap to carve/serve. Mix them with the juices you previously saved to use as the addition to this sauce.
* dried is fine but fresh, minced leaves would work best here. I had no access to them today.
** this was a high-end French preserve. What I would have done if home would have been to use a 24oz jar of Morello cherries packed in light syrup (Montmorencies would work the same). I would lift them out the jar with a large spoon capturing the cherries and some of the liquid (in other words, I would not drain them nor would I use all of the syrup). Crushed a bit with a spoon, they would partially dissolve while simmering; the juices would reduce and become sweeter. I would simmer the sauce longer at this stage (than the 20 min noted above) to thicken it further, approximating the thickness I achieved above, probably another 15 min.
*** I like Dijon with cherries. I use it in a cherry sauce I make for turkey. Yellow would be fine here though. Or a scant 1 Tbls powdered mustard mixed with 1 Tbls water and allowed to sit a min or two would work well too.
**** I used a commercial chile powder (containing a little cumin and oregano); that's what was available here. At home I'd probably go with a mix of ground Ancho and Guajillo chilies with a pinch of cumin and a pinch of oregano. But this worked fine.
***** Occasionally I like a 'smokeless' sauce (allowing the smokiness of the meat to come through), but mostly I like a little smoke in the sauce. The added reserved juices do much add some smokiness. The chipotle adds more plus some heat. For more smoke you can trim the last smallest rib or two off before cooking your slab(s), smoke them alongside but pull them when they're done (which will be early). Simmer them in the sauce to add some smoke and meat flavors. I do this often; it ties the sauce to the meat very well. I am not a fan of Liquid Smoke. You could use a little as an alternative if you wish.